Vomiting and severe stomach cramps may be caused by a variety of conditions. It may be as simple as a case of viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu) that will run its course without treatment, or it may be a serious condition, such as an intestinal obstruction.
Diagnosis depends upon the specific area of cramping, as well as any other accompanying symptoms you may have. According to MedlinePlus, diagnostic tests may include endoscopy, ultrasound, X-rays, barium enema, upper GI, small bowel series, or stool and blood tests.
Chronic conditions that include vomiting and stomach cramps include irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, coeliac disease, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis and lactose intolerance. These conditions may involve taking maintenance medications or treatment only during flares of the illness.
Serious conditions involving vomiting and severe stomach cramps include appendicitis, intestinal obstruction, colon cancer and gallstones. These conditions require urgent medical intervention and in some cases may require emergency surgery.
You should see your doctor if you are vomiting for more than two days (24 hours for young children, 12 hours for infants), you are unable to eat or drink for 12 hours due to vomiting (or your child has not kept anything down for eight hours), if you also have a fever, persistent diarrhoea, poor appetite and weight loss.
According to the Mayo Clinic, emergency medical care is necessary if you are vomiting blood or have blood in your stool, you are experiencing neck, chest or shoulder pain, you have signs of dehydration (dry mouth, dark urine, dizziness, weakness), or if your stomach is rigid and tender.